Yesterday I reported that Michigan lost a bid for en banc review of a stay a trial court order stopping Michigan from getting rid of straight-ticket (party lever) voting, on grounds that doing so would be a Voting Rights Act violation.
Now Chris Geidner reports that Michigan is seeking emergency relief at the Supreme Court in this case, and it wants a resolution by Sept. 8. That’s a tight time frame with Labor Day weekend. (In the Ohio case, Justice Kagan just gave Ohio until the 8th to file its response).
I haven’t seen the full petition yet, so it is hard for me to judge what’s likely to happen in the case. But from what I know at this point, getting a stay will be tough going for the state.
UPDATE: Here [updated link] is the stay request. OK, this is really not well done. The introduction promises a Purcell type argument, the best type of argument to try to find a fifth liberal Justice who could get interested in the case. But then the brief does not mention Purcell again, at all!
And then the lead argument is that this case is in contradiction with Crawford, the case rejecting a facial challenge to Indiana’s voter id law. NOT the way to attract a fifth Justice, and not really responsive to the argument that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. (The petition does address the VRA issue second). (And I don’t think the weakness of the brief is intentional, as it might have been with the Clement brief).
Add to that the fact that the Sixth Circuit said a stay made sense because Michigan failed to offer any affirmative evidence supporting its view that straight ticket voting did not burden minority voters.
These weaknesses and the really quick timetable make me think this is not going to be a winner for emergency SCOTUS relief for the state of Michigan, even if, after a full appeal, the state of Michigan could well win its case.
SECOND UPDATE: Justice Kagan has called for a response to the petition by 10 am on Wednesday 9/7.